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Airline on-time running improving but still well behind long-term averages

Planes might be fuller, but many travellers aren’t reaching their destinations on time.

Airlines are continuing to struggle with on-time running.

Australia’s airlines continue to fluctuate in their on-time running performance figures, with official figures for December 2022 showing around 30% of flights taking off or arriving behind schedule.

Collectively, major airlines recorded an average on-time departures score of 70.8%, an improvement on the previous month but a big drop from the 83.2% recorded a year earlier, albeit when travel was still struggling following the end of lockdowns and state border closures.

Despite the poor result all round, the Qantas Group (including QantasLink) showed it was handling things much better than its competitors, recording a 75.3% score for on-time departures, well ahead of Virgin Australia at 67.5%.

Jetstar was even worse with barely six in every ten flights pushing back on schedule.

Cancellations were also high for the month, with Jetstar leading the pack with a staggering 7.2% of flights axed. The Qantas low-cost offshoot was in a class of its own in this field, with main rivals Virgin Australia cancelling 3.4% of its flights and Qantas at 2.9%. The route with the most cancellations was Sydney to Melbourne at 9.1%.

Regional Express was the most reliable, only cancelling 0.7% of its flights, although it must be noted Rex operates around one-third the number of interstate flights as Qantas.

Flyers between Adelaide and Canberra landed on time most often, with 90.2% of flights between the two capitals touching down as scheduled and almost as many taking off on time too. Conversely, the Darwin to Perth route performed the worst, with one in every two flights leaving late.


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Written by: Matt Lennon
Published: 23 January 2023

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